National Assembly backs FG’s development roadmap, concession plan
The two chambers of the National Assembly have pledged to support the new aviation roadmap of the Federal Government, especially the plan to concession airports nationwide.
Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives, who spoke at the 59th Regional Conference and Exhibition of ACI-Africa Board and Committee Meeting in Lagos, said the Legislative arm understands the importance of legal backing and have resolved to support the initiative aimed at transforming the air transport sector. The weeklong ACI-Africa conference ends today.
The aviation roadmap, currently being implemented by the Ministry of State for Aviation, includes the establishment of a national carrier, concession of airports and development of Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility.
Deputy Leader of the Senate, Bala Na’Allah, in his goodwill message to the delegates from Africa and rest of the world, expressed delight at the objective of finding solutions to common problem of keeping the airports efficient and sustainable.
Na’Allah said the Senate awaits closing recommendations from the conference, even as it will give the Ministry of State for Aviation all the legislative backing to upturn the fortunes of the industry.
He said: “The Senate would be happy to have the conference resolve the challenges. The west has gone far in airport operations and has been able to harness that for their development. But, in truth, we must be innovative.”
Chairman, House of Representatives’ Committee on Aviation, Nkieruka Onyejeocha, earlier urged the ministry to keep them abreast of the plans to transform the aviation sector, stressing that the legislative backing is very important.
Onyejeocha said: “It is very clear that aviation in Nigeria is on the right track and we are thinking for the future. From the parliamentary perspective, we have always supported the sector knowing that if you do the right thing, the sector can contribute to the economy.
“If you get it right, this brings transformation; it brings employment, food on the table and adds to the Gross Domestic Product of the economy. We want to ensure that whatever we do has legislative backing.”
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, expressed the need for new strategies to keep the development of the African airports sustainable.These strategies, Mustapha said, include holistic planning for defined development targets; effective and efficient financing plan and successful implementation, coupled with the roles of public private partnership, a reliable legal, institutional and regulatory framework.
He said with the majority of airport infrastructure owned by the government, the current administration has continued to promote infrastructural development, facilities renewal and the implementation of policies aimed at facilitating the growth and sustainability of the sector.
Some of the key events and projects undertaken to achieve the objectives include: “implementation of Aviation Sector Roadmap, which was approved by the President in 2016 aimed at opening opportunities for investment; Concession of four International Airports as well as the establishment of Search and Rescue Unit to be implemented through Public and Private Partnerships.
“Establishment of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) with the mandate to remove bureaucratic bottlenecks and constraints to doing business in Nigeria; issuance of Executive Orders aimed at facilitating and easing entry experience of investors, visitors and travellers at the nation’s ports.
“It is clear that the Airport Council International and the Federal Government of Nigeria are in sync on his development of the aviation industry in Africa. The full implementation of the Aviation Roadmap which is progressing in line with milestone targets will result in the transformation of business and economic growth in the sector,” he said.